Hen and stags: A night to remember

Forget boozy blowouts, strippers and L-plates. A host of classier choices mean your hen or stag do doesn’t have to be an evening you’d rather forget, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

We’ll probably never know whether or not Kate Moss and friends really worked their way through 120 bottles of rum on day one of her hen weekend. Still, photos of the party in action confirm one thing – this was an event of bacchanalian proportions. Pink hummer limos, gold buggies and no shortage of refreshments.

For once, though, the supermodel might be behind the curve. Whether it’s a sign of the times or a straightforward case of L-plate fatigue, the boozy, misbehaving hen party of recent years is looking increasingly démodé. Ditto the stag. “The age of the average bride is higher than it used to be,” says Miranda Eason, editor of You and Your Wedding and Cosmopolitan Brides. “Couples have done the boozy nights out. These days it’s more about making memories.”



HENS

Learn something useful

To celebrate her final days of freedom, Lily Allen was given a private cooking lesson by Gordon Ramsay. Joined by a small group of friends, she was then treated to a meal at the chef’s Savoy Grill restaurant. “That’s exactly the sort of thing we’re seeing more of,” says Eason. “It’s a shared experience; something the girls will remember for a long time.” It’s not just high-end cooking lessons that the modern hen is enjoying. At the Shu Uemura boutique in London’s Covent Garden, groups can receive lessons in applying make-up from the store’s immaculatelyqualified staff. “It’s something Mr Uemura started back in the Sixties,” explains senior artist Mei Rees. Prices range from £30 to £60 – though the full amount is then redeemable against any products which they buy. Shuuemura.co.uk

Arts & crafts

“When it comes to throwing a hen party, you need to remember that not everyone necessarily knows each other,” says Jennifer Pirtle, founder of the Make Lounge. “Craft offers the guests an opportunity to get to know each other without that first encounter being an alcohol-fuelled meeting in a nightclub.” The Make Lounge has been catering to hen parties since 2007, offering afternoon sessions where guests can learn to make anything from fascinators to jewellery. Classes last between twoand- a-half and four hours and get booked up long in advance. Particularly popular is the so-called “Fancy Pants” knicker-customising session. “It’s a real way of bonding the group and at the end of the day they get to take something home.” Themakelounge.com



STAGS

Dine finely

Amongst hens, enjoying a foodie treat – be it a retro tea party or a slap-up meal – has been a trend for some time. It seems the boys are following suit. Recently, Kate Moss’s fiancé Jamie Hince toasted his impending nuptials with a meal at Shoreditch’s chi-chi Les Trois Garcons before heading to St Tropez for a bit of quiet in the sunshine – quite a contrast to his bride’s all-out affair. But Hince isn’t alone. Before marrying model Lara Stone, David Walliams exercised similar restraint, dining at Nobu before enjoying a few quite ones at the nearby Met Bar.



Song and dance

Karaoke has long been a staple at stag and hen dos across the country – though, increasingly, brides are opting for a sing-along with a difference. “We’ve seen a lot of Glee-inspired singing and dancing lessons recently,” says Eason. Other popular options are Grease- or Dirty Dancing-themed dance classes. “It’s about doing something more interesting than a night out.” For those with showbiz ambitions, recording studios are offering hens the chance to record their very own album. At Anita’s Music in Edinburgh, hen parties are given the option of recording their own covers album, complete with a track listing of their own design (Anitamusic.co.uk), while Newcastle’s Broadwater studio offers a dedicated Hen Party package for £250. Broadwaterstudios.com



Survival of the Fittest

“Canyoning is without doubt our most popular activity,” says Mark Soanes, a director at Call of the Wild, which offers adventure weekends for stags at the Brecon Beacons National Park. “It’s an adrenaline rush and the scenery is absolutely stunning.” The typical weekend chez Soanes involves two activities, plus accommodation and food. “We’re seeing more and more people looking for something better value than just sitting in a bar. They want something they can go and talk about when it comes to the wedding.” Naturally, hen parties are welcome at Call of the Wild, too – and if two days of sport sounds a bit much, there is the option of spending the second day being pampered. Callofthewild.co.uk



Wine down

“We’ve been offering wine tasting stag and hen parties for three years,” says Nicola Paradis, of Paris wine bar O Chateau. During summer, the bar’s dedicated workshops are in high demand amongst betrothed Brits who come for a two-hour session. “We take them through six French wines, including one champagne and discuss the type of grape, the region, show them how to read the label.” If desired, the bar can provide food, as well as the option of a champagne cruise. “People love it – it’s a halfway point between a bit of culture and being a bit drunk at the end of the day.” O-chateau.com

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own